Treatment needed for 25 supplies at risk of contamination with Cryptosporidium says EPA

  • Monitoring of public drinking water in Ireland shows that:
    • 99.9% of samples comply with the microbiological standards
    • 99.5% of samples comply with the chemical standards
  • 41 Boil Water Notices were put in place during 2016, affecting more than 84,000 people.
  • There are 87 “at risk” supplies on the EPA Remedial Action List:
    • 58 of these supplies have elevated levels of Trihalomethanes
    • 25 of these supplies lack adequate treatment to prevent Cryptosporidium entering the water supply.

The EPA Drinking Water Report 2016, released today, shows that the quality of drinking water in public supplies remains high though further improvements are necessary to improve the security of supplies and avoid water restrictions, including Boil Water Notices. Drinking water testing throughout 2016 confirmed a very high level of compliance with microbiological and chemical standards, indicating that the majority of our water supplies are safe.

Commenting on the report, Mr Gerard O’Leary, Director of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Enforcement said,

“While the removal of long-term boil water notices in supplies like the Whitegate Regional Supply in Cork and Loughrea public water supply in Galway in 2016 was welcome, there remains over 3,600 people on a Boil Water Notice today. The EPA has identified supplies serving over 700,000 consumers where improvements to water treatment infrastructure are necessary to meet public health standards.”

Kerry, Cork and Donegal account for almost half of the “at risk” supplies identified by the EPA.  The report states that action programme dates set out by Irish Water to improve 24 “at risk” supplies have slipped.

Darragh Page, Senior Drinking Water Inspector, Office of Environmental Enforcement, commenting on threats to drinking water quality such as Cryptosporidium, E. coli and Trihalomethanes (THMs)said,

“While the incidence of E. coli in public water supplies continues to decrease, the current challenge is to reduce the levels of other pollutants in public water supplies across the country, particularly THM, and pesticides.  The number of supplies reporting THM failures remains high, and a consistent national approach must be adopted to ensure that pesticides are prevented from entering our drinking water sources. We have also identified 25 supplies that require adequate treatment to prevent Cryptosporidium entering the water supply.”

The EPA Drinking Water Report 2016 as well as the complete list of public water supplies currently on the Remedial Action List (RAL) – including details of the proposed remedial measures and associated timeframes – is available on the EPA website.

Further information: Niamh Hatchell/ Emily Williamson, EPA Media Relations Office 053-9170770 (24 hours) or

Notes to Editor

Some key findings of the 2016 report on the 904 public water supplies:

  • 99.9% of samples comply with microbiological parameters.
  • 99.5% of samples comply with chemical parameters.
  • 4,000 fewer people were on boil water notices at the end of 2016, compared to the end of 2015.
  • 41 boil water notices and a further 10 water restrictions were put in place in 2016, affecting 84,348 people in 16 counties.
  • E. coli was detected at least once in 3 supplies, compared to 7 supplies in 2015.
  • Trihalomethanes limits were exceeded in 59 supplies, the same number as in 2015.
  • 99 supplies were on the EPA’s Remedial Action List (RAL) at the end of 2016. This reduced to 87 supplies by September 2017.
  • 15 Directions were issued to Irish Water by the EPA in 2016.

The EPA has identified the following priorities for Irish Water to address on a national level to protect and improve public water supplies:

  • Elimination of long term boil water notices by providing robust disinfection systems;
  • Minimising harmful disinfection by-products (Trihalomethanes) by providing treatment that adequately removes organic matter in the water (THM pre-cursors);
  • Eliminating lead from our drinking water networks;
  • Preventing pesticides from entering our drinking water sources;
  • Managing risks to our public water supplies by adopting Drinking Water Safety Plans for all supplies;
  • Progressing action programmes for all Remedial Action List (RAL) schemes.

List of the 10 supplies on Boil Water Notice

Name of Supply County Population Affected
DLR Zone 2 (Two notices affecting two parts of the network) Dun Laoghaire 6
Ardcarraig Clogherinkoe Kildare 80
Callan Kilkenny 10
Baltrasna Meath 9
Ballinlough/Loughglynn Roscommon 3,427
Dundrum Regional Tipperary 100
Nire Waterford 12
Scrothea Waterford 3
Chestnut Grove Wexford 28
Johnstown South (Arklow) Wicklow 6
Total 3,681

Source: EPA